cover image The Kidnapping of Suzie Q.

The Kidnapping of Suzie Q.

Martin Waddell. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-530-2

A familiar plot about kidnapping is blended with a dollop of irony here: because Northern Ireland is so dangerous, police don't know whether Suzie Quinn has been kidnapped or whether it's a trap by the Irish Republican Army. In reality, Suzie is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of paying a cashier for birthday candles at Semple's Supermarket, she's suddenly caught in a stick-up, taken hostage and imprisoned in a quarry. But her three captors are novices at their violent game, and if she uses all her wits she might escape: ""They were total incompetents, amateurs,"" Suzie observes, shrewdly concluding, ""It made them more dangerous, not less."" Waddell's (Tango's Baby) first-person story sounds just as though a savvy 15-year-old girl had written it from her heart. Much of the suspense is liquidated by the format; Suzie has obviously lived to tell the tale. Still, the smart, breezy writing, jaunty heroine and tense setting should keep readers on the hook. Ages 14-17. (June)